Claire Beale on Advertising: Technology means posters will stick around

I could tell you about Cannes – the Cannes Advertising Festival. But really most of London’s adland seems barely to have noticed that this is Cannes week.

With jobs being cut, budgets slashed and salaries frozen, many agencies have clearly decided that a few days sipping Domaine d’Ott on the terraces overlooking the Croisette is a tad, um, unseemly in the circumstances.

More on Cannes next week, but for the moment let’s assume that it will be a quiet affair and that most of London’s creatives will spend the coming week drinking nothing more exotic than warm lager outside Soho pubs without troubling the display in their awards cabinet.

So, on to a subject of a firmly pedestrian nature. Now, you won’t be surprised to hear that in an advertising industry obsessed with Twitter, apps, widgets and all the other sugary strands that make up the candyfloss of popular culture, the world’s oldest advertising medium has been left looking distinctly démodé. Posters. Who’d be in posters when there’s a new social media consumer to be hunted down and one-on-oned with?

True, significant pockets of the poster industry have successfully hauled themselves bang up to date and are doing some funky advertising stuff right now on a street corner near you.

More of which later. But no question, posters are having a tough time of it at the moment.

Revenues have fallen by 20 per cent and an awful lot of the bog-standard roadside stock is creaking in the wind of change. Tired and inflexible in a media world of real-time communication and interactivity, the neighbourhood poster site is in the rough.

Take the story of Aviva. Last week the insurance company claimed that its recent poster campaign had been allowed to stay up on sites well beyond the paid-for period because no other advertisers wanted to buy the space. Cue the doom-merchants hailing the story as further evidence that posters are on their uppers.

The trouble is there aren’t many opportunities for agencies to prove their painfully cutting-edge credentials when it comes to posters. And marketing fashion is about dialogue and interaction. You can’t have a relationship with a poster site.

And then there’s the recession. While all media are suffering, those that offer careful targeting, transactional opportunities and data capture are suffering less. The poster medium on the whole struggles to tick some of these key boxes.

All of which explains why you will now start to see fewer poster sites when you’re out and about. The industry is in culling mode. It can’t sell all the inventory it has, so some of the one-time banker stock is being taken down and thrown on the bonfire. Hundreds of big poster sites will be disappearing from our streets over the coming months, and the ones that are left will be smarter, cleaner and more creatively ripe.

It’s just the sort of detoxing the medium desperately needs if it is to finally throw off its old-fashioned and murky image and stand confidently alongside today’s modern media.

The poster industry has already embraced digital signage – in intent if not in universal fact – meaning moving images and better targeting. But it’s really the collision of the mobile phone and the poster site that offers the most exciting opportunities.

From scanning bar codes on posters with your mobile in order to be sent money-off coupons to LCD screens that allow you to change the way a poster looks by using your phone’s touchscreen. Suddenly it’s a medium with new creative and interactive possibilities.

And as those adlanders not in Cannes might acknowledge, posters are still the main advertising medium likely to grab your attention outside a pub.

Best in Show: Honda (Wieden & Kennedy)

At the beginning of the year Honda closed its Swindon factory. It didn’t want to make redundancies, despite the collapse of the car market, so it shut up shop for a few months.

The decision was clear evidence of a brand that, when the crunch came, remained true to the values encapsulated in its marketing.

Now Swindon has reopened and Honda has launched a marketing campaign through Wieden & Kennedy to celebrate. This is one of the posters, but there are some lovely press executions too, with well-crafted copy and a clean |design. Isn’t it nice when brands do as they say?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: 3D CAD Designer - Exhibition Stands

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Rapid growth has seen a number ...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Delegate Telesales Executive - OTE £21,000 uncapped

£16000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: High quality, dedicated Delegat...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor